Cocktail Dresses: Know the Hows and Whens

cocktail dresses

Your wardrobe is up to date, as is your style. You’ve stocked up on what is trending and colours that everyone is wearing. But your sense of fashion is only as good as what you choose to show up in on a given day. Cocktail events come with not just the pressure of being on top of your game but with an added responsibility of practising decorum. Here are some things to remember while you dress up for those black-tie events:

When and where is the party?

What you would wear to a party at a swanky hotel would not be the same for a house party. Likewise, the outfit you choose for an evening gathering would differ from a laid-back Sunday brunch meet. Is it a group comprising your girlfriends or dinner with colleagues? You don’t want to be seen in an inappropriate neckline in front of your boss or in a hemline that raises eyebrows in your office circuit. Remember these are the guys you work with. The context becomes as important as the venue and time!

Keep the season in mind

A floral maxi dress is great for the summer; soft pastel hues ideal for the spring but would not deem fit for a winter evening. Jacquard coats, close-toed heels and deep shades/jewel tones – the likes of emerald green, ink blue and ruby red echo winter. While sheer, light and airy garments in pops of colour may be fun and breezy for the summer; dresses that stay close to the body such as wraps and sheaths embrace colder days.

Fewer handbags, more clutches

When it comes to cocktail parties, you don’t want to be seen lugging a big tote bag! A thin, sleek clutch that can fit the bare essentials is all you need. Shoulder bags and tote bags are no way near cocktail-appropriate gear. The smaller and sleeker your purse, the cleaner your look.

It’s okay to not wear one-pieces

Who says cocktails are only dress-friendly? We often overlook the classic pant-suit attire that has been in fashion for decades now and scream power. Ditch the flowy dress and opt for a pair of high-waist sleek trousers with a tucked-in top at your next corporate party. Throw on a solid hip-length blazer to finish the look on a high. Jumpsuits too mean business for its uncommon and brave style. A solid coloured jumpsuit is great for beginners. They help in streamlining your body and add to your confidence. Time you turn boss lady!

Don’t go overboard with accessories

Ideally, at a cocktail party, your dress should make the statement. But when have we ever shied away from jewellery? That said, you don’t want to look like you’ve tried too hard. Instead of wearing one too many statement pieces, wear a piece you love. A bejewelled neckpiece or those big tassel earrings. It becomes important to deemphasize on other accessories if you want your statement piece to garner undivided attention. Shoes included!

Your footwear can turn things around

We can’t emphasize the importance of good footwear when you’re at a cocktail event. You definitely don’t want to land up in sandals or even ballerinas. What you wear on your feet is as important as what you’re wearing above it. Uplift your outfit with a pair of heels – slim, block or stilettos. Anything would do, but some height is a must if you want your appearance to be taken seriously.

Length matters

At a formal cocktail event, we suggest you be cautious about the length of your dress. Keep your minis for a girls’ night out. The ideal length for cocktails is a Midi dress that falls halfway between your knee and ankle. The only reason we are saying this is because very short hemlines may get you glares for considering the event callous, even if your intention was something else.

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Garima Ghosh
About Garima Ghosh 90 Articles
When I'm not writing on cocktail dressing etiquette or why you need a popsocket in your life, I'm on the hunt for the latest board games in the market.